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Device use for kids, a key to handling lockdown - PM quizzes psychologist on how parents should cope

The Prime Minister has expressed her concern for Kiwis under lockdown, interviewing psychologist Nigel Latta for his advice.

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The author and psychologist chatted to Jacinda Ardern in a candid Covid-19 conversation. Source: 1 NEWS

With parents having found themselves in unexpected circumstances amid the Covid-19 crisis, Jacinda Ardern asked Mr Latta how they should cope in a video posted to her Facebook page.

All schools closed entirely on Wednesday March 25 with no clear picture of when they will re-open. 

“Teenagers who are used to having so much connection with their friends and their peer group, is there any substitute to that?” asked Ms Ardern.

Mr Latta said adolescents craving connection are best to be allowed “unfettered access” to devices.

“I think people worry a lot about young people and devices, but don’t,” he says.

“Having access to the internet and devices and talking on all the various platforms that they do is hugely important.

“There is a lot of stuff on the internet about screen time and how it damages this and damages that, - when you dig down into the actual science there isn’t a clear picture that lots of device use damages young people in any way.

“And certainly if it’s over a period of a few weeks, it’s not going to do them any harm at all.”

Mr Latta says a parent's single most important job is to keep stuff “calm and settled in your home”.

Allowing unlimited device use should not make parents feel as though they are failing, Mr Latta says.